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From: The Socialist issue 966, 11 October 2017: Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

Search site for keywords: The Socialist - Socialist - Trade union organisation - Trade union

The Socialist Inbox

The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors

The Socialist inbox: letters to the editors   (Click to enlarge)

Cult conference

Local leaders summoned at short notice to a national meeting to discuss "poor performance"... two of them sacked the week before ("obviously in the minds of people but not discussed")... those present encouraged to chant loudly "we can do this!"

Donald Trump's support team? Kim Jong-Un's military commanders? No - NHS trust and commissioning leaders at a meeting about the need to improve emergency performance.

One source told Health Service Journal the event offered the gathered leaders "nothing new" to learn from - but cost some people more than 500 in last-minute train fares.

Jon Dale, secretary, Unite EM/NG32 Nottinghamshire Health Branch

Procter problems

Procter and Gamble (P&G) is an American company with long-established connections in British manufacturing. Its Newcastle Innovation Centre was opened in the 1950s, following its acquisition of a local detergent brand.

Employment at the site hasn't always been precarious. P&G staff who supported scientists, and even those working in facilities maintenance and security, used to enjoy the benefits of P&G's generous remuneration package designed to prevent trade union organisation.

Those historic perks have fallen by the wayside, with remaining directly employed non-scientific staff 'Tuped' to other corporate partners, and a new wave of agency subcontracting.

One such agency is an in-house arrangement, known as PG Assist. This lucrative firm operates at the Newcastle Innovation Centre, at a facility in Egham in Surrey, as well as at P&G's continental operation in Belgium.

The firm's owners are well-to-do, with one living in an affluent dormitory suburb. One of its worst practices is withdrawing workers' 500, twice-annual 'bonus' for incidents of exaggerated 'disciplinary offences', or even lateness and sickness, while no sick pay is offered.

Staff complain that insecure employment arrangements through such agencies prevent trade union organisation, create uncertainty and an inability to plan due to the nature of the contracts, and offer limited scope for advancement. Two such young and frustrated PG Assist staff members furtively explored trade union organisation - until their contracts were abruptly terminated following aggressive supervision.

They have since joined the Socialist Party, and lent solidarity to local industrial campaigns.

P&G is lauded by fellow business community elites, and recently garnered praise from campaign group Girl Effect and even Sesame Street for its supposed championship of gender equality.

The Socialist Party knows the real effect of P&G's practices and their impact on low-paid women workers who languish in insecure employment while receiving poverty pay for their work as caterers, cleaners, receptionists, and security guards at P&G's UK operations.

Newcastle Socialist Party

Ryanair nosedive

Ryanair, photo Adrian Pingstone/CC

Ryanair, photo Adrian Pingstone/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Why do people such as the chairman of Ryanair, Michael O'Leary, believe they can act like some kind of 19th century mill owners towards their employees and customers? Anwser: capitalism!

Mr O'Leary would be wise to ask some of those customers who had their flights cancelled at last-minute notice - due to his company's mismanagement, and what is clearly from Mr O'Leary's reaction contempt for his employees - how these customers feel about him and his company.

Just imagine Mr O'Leary waiting in an airport to fly back home after a holiday, only to be told "your flight's been cancelled due to your company's mismanagement, but the good news you can be put on the next flight to Manchester, although your car happens to be in a car park at East Midlands airport where you originally had flown from at the start of your holiday, take it or leave it!"

To the boss of Ryanair, Michael O'Leary, and those bosses who think of nothing and no one except themselves: it's time for people like you to stop thinking that because of your wealth you can crap on anyone you like and get away with it.

The only way to hurt people like the O'Learys of this world is in their pockets and those of their shareholders.

'Rebel with a Cause', Rotherham

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our Fighting Fund.

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Article dated 11 October 2017

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Thurrock council workers striking against pay cuts, photo by Dave Murray

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